Preparing for the Unthinkable: Finding the Care You Need
Many have the notion that nothing unmanageable will happen; yet, one day they realize they are unable to complete everyday tasks like preparing meals, driving to the local grocery store, arranging for medical assistance, or washing dishes. If this happens TO YOU, where do you find the care you need?
Some Care Options Might Include:
In-Home Care offers non-medical, in-home help with daily tasks including assistance with transfers, bathing, personal hygiene, transportation, meal preparation, housekeeping, medication reminders, etc.
Two types of providers are found in this field:
Independent Providers--people you hire, train, and supervise to work in your home. You will need to find backup resources should an employee fall ill or be unable to provide care.
Agency Providers-people hired by an agency to provide in-home care. These agencies are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising. They also provide on-going quality assurance by monitoring your in-home plan of care and providing backup in case of illness of an employee.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALs) offer a safe living environment, supervision, access to care 24 hours/7 days a week (24/7), many of these facilities offer daily meals, transportation, and assistance with activities of daily living.
Skilled Nursing Facilities(SNFs) offer a safe but more restricted living environment, focusing primarily on meeting your round-the-clock medical needs with licensed nursing staff on site at all times, SNFs focus on diet, exercise, supervision, and meeting your medical needs.
As you choose the appropriate level of care, remember as your physical health fluctuates, so can your care needs. Many elders, requiring short-term respite in SNFs, are able to return home when their health improves.
Some Basic Questions to Ask When Selecting Care Might Include:
Hiring Practices: What are the company's hiring practices? What type of screening is provided? Background and references checked? What questions are asked during the interview?
Training Practices: What are the company's training practices? What training programs are available for employees? Are they certified courses, in-house courses, or state accredited courses?
Quality Assurance Practices: How are you assured of quality care? Who monitors the care? Are family members informed about care issues? How are confidential issues discussed?
Level of Care: Can the individual or agency meet care needs? What type of admitting or discharge planning do they provide? Is help available after business hours or on holidays? How are concerns about care addressed?
You can add additional questions to address specific needs and values. It is important to be informed.
Other Community Resources
Physicians Ask your primary physician about community resources and recommendations regarding your personal history.
State Agencies Agencies such as the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Aging and Long Term Care (ALTCEW) can offer a wealth of information regarding health care needs, resources, and eligibility for state funded programs.
Social Workers Almost all hospitals, nursing facilities, and health care agencies have social workers that can recommend specific programs for your needs.
Home Care Agencies A quality home care agency can provide information regarding community services tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need services now or in the future, it is always good to be prepared for the unthinkable.
Article provided by Pam Nygaard, R.N.C. and Teresa Micheielli, Administrator, Home Care of Washington, Inc.